Birtwhistle scores major triathlon win

Australian triathlete Jake Birtwhistle has posted his first World Triathlon Series win, beating a stacked field in the Leeds round.

Australian Jake Birtwhistle has had a breakthrough World Triathlon Series win in Leeds against a stacked field.

The 24-year-old Tasmanian ran down South African Henri Schoeman late in the race to take the lead.

American Matt McElroy and Spanish super star Javier Gomez then went after Birtwhistle, but he hung on for his first WTS race win just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympics.

Great Britain's famed Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee finished well off the pace.

"It's been a long time coming, going after that top step of the podium," Birtwhistle said.

"This was kind of dubbed as the strongest ITU (International Triathlon Union) field assembled maybe ever, and to come out and get the win is pretty special.

"There's a big 18 months coming up obviously, and this is a real big confidence booster for me."

Birtwhistle set up his race with a strong swim and he won the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run event in one hour 45 minutes 12 seconds.

McElroy took second place, seven seconds behind him, and Gomez was another two seconds adrift for third as Schoeman finished fourth.

Schoeman won gold and Birtwhistle was second last year at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Rio Olympian Aaron Royle was the next-best placed Australian in 11th place.

Luke William was 31st, two places ahead of Ryan Fisher, and Ryan Bailie was 38th.

It was a round for the new guard, with Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain also winning her first WTS event.

American Katie Zaferes was second, but she continues to lead the series.

Natalie Van Coevorden was the top Australian in 14th and Kelly-Ann Perkins was 14th.

Emma Jackson took 20th, eight spots ahead of Gillian Backhouse, and Emma Jeffcoast did not finish.


AAP